More than 100 countries back Iran’s nuclear program

AP
31.07.2008
By GEORGE JAHN

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — More than 100 nonaligned nations backed Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear power on Wednesday, an endorsement sought by Tehran in its standoff with the U.N. Security Council over its refusal to freeze uranium enrichment.

The decision came as supreme Iranian leader Ayatolla Ali Khamenei pledged to continue the country’s nuclear program.

Senior Iranian officials depicted the support from a high-level conference of the Nonaligned Movement as deflating claims by the U.S. and its allies that most of the international community wanted Iran to stop enrichment.

Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran’s top representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the endorsement from the 115 countries present at the Tehran conference sends a “strong positive signal that the only way is negotiation and dialogue” over the nuclear standoff.

Support was expressed in a three-page declaration in Farsi, translated by The Associated Press. It said the conference “reaffirmed the basic and inalienable right of all states, to develop research, production and use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.”

The West is seeking an agreement for Iran to curb uranium enrichment, a process that can be use to generate nuclear power[…]

The [UN] Security Council has slapped three sets of sanctions on the Islamic Republic. And a fourth set looms.

Only days remain until a deadline expires for Tehran to show it will stop expanding its enrichment program, at least temporarily, or face the threat of new U.N. sanctions.

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